A majority of the Federation of Trade union (LO) Congress decided that Norway should strive for an international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
First day on the job as LO leader ended in a bitter defeat for Hans-Christian Gabrielsen. Despite clear warnings the LO Congress advocates a boycott against Israel.
Our solidarity with the Palestinian people is as strong as the foundations of the People’s House.
– Our solidarity with the Palestinian people is as strong as the foundations of the People’s House, said Gabrielsen, before warning against the consequences of an international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel.
– This will affect Palestinian workers and Palestinian trade unions, said the newly elected LO boss.
He was ignored. With 193 against 117 votes the LO Congress voted for the proposal by the minority in the editorial committee.
– This is a major political workshop. In Some cases Congress the win, in other cases the editorial committee prevails, says Gabrielsen after the vote.
Enough is enough
EL and IT Federation leader Jan Olav Andersen was among those who voted for a general boycott of Israel. He points out that the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has lasted for 50 years.
– Enough is enough. This is a continuation of previous discussions in LO, where we have refrained from adopting boycott and instead asked a series of well-intentioned claims – to no avail, says Andersen.
The statement furthermore advocates that Norwegian authorities recognize Palestine as an independent state within the borders of 1967, which the Congress has unanimously agreed on.
Israel reacts violently to LO boycott decision
Immoral, discriminatory and double standards, the Israeli Embassy in Norway describes LO’s decision to work for an international boycott of the country.
– The Israeli Government strongly condemns the resolution adopted by the LO Congress, saying, ’Boycott Israel’, the Embassy writes in a statement.
– To work for a total boycott of the Israeli state will only contribute to, and further increase the distrust and tension. It will lead us further away from a peaceful solution.
– This immoral resolution reflects deep-rooted, biased, discriminatory and double standard attitudes toward the Jewish state. There appears to be an Israeli obsession in the trade unions, especially LO, the embassy writes.
The LO, with its decision, wants also to eradicate the security barrier between Israel and the West Bank, standing side by side with “Israel’s worst enemies”, according to the country’s embassy in Oslo.
The majority in the editorial committee, with the LO leader in the lead, did not want to go as a full boycott, and rather suggested boycotting goods from Israeli settlements and industrial zones in the West Bank.
– How does it feel like going on your first defeat?
“Thats how democratic work: sometimes Congress wants a majority voice and not the editorial committee voice,” says Hans Christian Gabrielsen, the new chief executive officer.
Hans Christian Gabrielsen warned that the decision could lead to denying LO employees entry to Israel, indicating that the Israeli National Assembly, Knesset, has introduced a law that persons working for boycott may be denied entry into the country.
The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is decidedly the largest and most influential workers’ organisation in Norway. LO has a strong position in society and has set its stamp on society’s development for more than 100 years.
LO have more than 910,000 members are organized in 25 trade unions that are affiliated with LO. LO organizes in both the private and public sector, and in all industries and professions. Of the LO-organized, 50 percent are women.